The jiu-jitsu specialist was the crowd favorite in Barueri, but was outgrappled by Cesar Gracie’s protégé during the five-round bout. Two judges scored the bout 48-47 to Shields, but Maia thinks he had done enough to win.
"Don’t understand the judges," Maia protested during the post-fight press conference. "My strategy going to the fifth round was defend the takedowns and score points standing, so I thought the fight was 3-2 to me."
Judge Richard Bertrand and Sal D’Amato gave Shields the win, and Guilherme Bravo scored the contest 48-47 to the Brazilian. Maia thinks the judges should open up and explain their scores after the fight.
"I think the judges should make their criteria more clear, and the judges should go public," he said. "A decision like this change a fighter’s life and these guys never show up. They need to show up. They need to know the responsibility they have with judging, and they should clarify the rules."
Regarding the outcome of the bout, Maia wasn’t happy with his performance.
"I’ve lost positions that I usually don’t and I don’t know why," he said. "Maybe I got excited to be fighting at home. I landed one good hand on him on the third round and he felt it. I immediately went to take his back. I normally would go for the submission but I tried to knock him out, and he recovered and reverted the position."
Maia's loss forces the former middleweight title contender, who turns 36 in November, to restart his run in the welterweight division. However, the jiu-jitsu world champion doesn’t think he’s "too old" to get there.
"Things can change quickly in the UFC," he said. "I lost to Nate Marquardt in my first loss as a middleweight and then I defeated Dan Miller and fought for the title against Anderson Silva. I can’t think about that. I just need to think about my next fight, and fight a good guy like Shields."